Friday, October 28, 2011 - A little more disclosure please?

Compete's Table Explaining Data Differences
Where's the point about school and business-based computers? says "Compete's data comes from a statistically representative cross-section of 2 million consumers across the United States."  They elaborate on how their data differs from log data but in all of this, I think they side step a really big point.  In the case of my site (, the reason that they differ from my logs is that most of my traffic comes everyday not from home computers but from computers inside K12 institution. ie  Schools.  In short, there are three big sectors of our economy:
  • business and government
  • education
  • consumers at home
In the old days,  all the computers were in business, government, and educational institutions.  Today, however, consumers also have computers at home.  But many of these same people leave their homes during the day and go to jobs where usually, they have another computer. These same people do a lot of their shopping and see a lot of ads while they are at work.  Schools in particular, have a very large number of computers which get used in many cases over 50% of the time since they are often on carts going from class to class or in a media center with classes filing in and out. 

I know that in my case, the reason that Compete's numbers are misleading, the reason that they report less than half of hte full traffic for SpellingCity is that they don't measure the traffic from schools. Should they? I do not know.  Should they admit and highlight the fact they are no reporting this data? Absolutely.  This table is misleading and misses the biggest reason that at least in my case, local logs don't match what they report. 

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